|Type of medicine||Calcium-channel blocker|
|Also called||Standard preparation:
Adizem® SR, Adizem® XL, Angitil® SR, Angitil® XL, Bi-Carzem® SR, Bi-Carzem® XL, Calcicard® CR, Dilcardia®, Dilzem® SR, Dilzem® XL, Slozem®, Tildiem® LA, Tildiem® Retard, Viazem® XL, Zemtard® XL
|Available as||Modified release (M/R) tablets
Modified release (M/R) capsules
Diltiazem is used to treat hypertension (high blood pressure) and angina (chest pain). Angina occurs when the heart muscles do not receive enough oxygen.
Diltiazem works by relaxing and opening up the blood vessels. This allows blood to circulate more freely around the body, lowering blood pressure and helping more oxygen to reach the heart.
Before taking diltiazem
Before taking diltiazem make sure your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
- If you have liver or kidney problems.
- If you have any heart problems.
- If you suffer from porphyria (a rare blood disorder).
- If you are taking other medicines, including those available to buy without a prescription, herbal or complementary medicines.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to this or any other medicine.
How to take diltiazem
- Before beginning treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet.
- Take diltiazem exactly as directed by your doctor.
- Diltiazem tablets and capsules should be swallowed whole with a drink of water. This means you must not crush or chew the tablets, or open up the capsules.
- Try to take diltiazem at the same times each day to avoid missing any doses.
- If you do forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember and then continue as normal. If when you remember it is nearly time for your next dose, take the next dose on time and leave out the missed dose. Do not take two doses together to make up for a missed dose.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Each time you collect your supply of diltiazem, check to make sure you have been given the same brand of tablets or capsules as you have had before. This is particularly important if you are taking the longer release forms of diltiazem which are taken once or twice a day.
- If you are having any treatment like an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment that you are taking diltiazem.
- Keep your regular doctor's appointment so that your progress can be monitored.
- Do not stop taking diltiazem without speaking to your doctor first as this may cause any symptoms to reappear. This is important if you are taking diltiazem for angina pain.
- If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with your other medicines.
Can diltiazem cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, all medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.
|Common side-effects - these affect less than 1 in 10 people who take this medicine||What can I do if I experience this|
|Dizziness or light-headedness especially when getting up from a sitting or lying position||Getting up more slowly may help. If you begin to feel faint, lie down until the feeling passes, then sit for a few minutes before standing. If this continues, speak with your doctor|
|Headache||This may occur when you first start taking diltiazem but usually goes away after a few days. Ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller and if it continues, let your doctor know|
|Hot flushes, swollen ankles||These may occur when you first start taking diltiazem but usually go away after a few days|
|Upset stomach, feeling sick||Stick to simple foods. Eat little and often|
|Increased sensitivity of the skin to sunlight||Avoid bright sunlight and sunbeds. Use a sun cream factor 15 or higher|
|Slow heartbeat, palpitations, tiredness||If any of these are troublesome, let your doctor know|
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
How to store diltiazem
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Further reading & references
- British National Formulary; 59th Edition (March 2010) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London.
|Original Author: Helen Allen||Current Version: Helen Allen|
|Last Checked: 21/10/2010||Document ID: 3616 Version: 22||© EMIS|
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.